What should I do if I receive a computer virus alert message via email?

Note: For a list of resources to help you find information about particular viruses, see What are viruses, worms, and Trojan horses?

The University Information Security Office (UISO) sends messages to Indiana University students, faculty, and staff when IU computers are identified as having a virus. If you receive one of these messages, contact your local Support Center for assistance.

Microsoft Forefront, the antivirus program that IU uses to protect Exchange servers, automatically sends messages in response to detected viruses. However, these automated messages may not always indicate actual infection. For more, see What does it mean if I receive a message from Microsoft Forefront telling me that I have an ExceedinglyNested virus? In addition, UITS scans all outbound messages for viruses; see Why did I receive email from the IU Mail Delivery System stating that a virus-infected attachment was disinfected?

Timely security information, including notices of new viruses, is available on the UISO Bulletins page. These notices are intended to alert the non-technical user community to widespread virus outbreaks at IU. The Protect IU Blog and UISO Security Bulletins also provide information about selected topics in cybersecurity.

Lastly, while it is certainly possible that a virus alert is credible, virus alert hoaxes are becoming as frequent as real viruses. Well-written hoaxes may circulate for years after their first appearance. Do not pass on virus alert messages to others unless the virus is confirmed by a reliable source; otherwise, you perpetuate the hoax, doing your friends and colleagues a disservice. See How can I tell if a computer virus alert is a hoax?

For personal computers, UITS recommends Windows Defender for Windows 8.x, which comes as part of Windows 8.x as a full antivirus suite. For Windows 7 and Vista, UITS recommends Microsoft Security Essentials, available free of charge via IUware. Be sure to have only one antivirus program installed.

This is document adbm in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2014-10-17.

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